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  • Val T.

Caston beats Peru after going-away party for Dammermann


Sports Editor, RTC

DENVER — The Caston girls basketball team does not get to have Laura Dammermann for another semester, so they had a going-away party for her.

Then they went out and won their first game without her.

Isabel Scales and Maddi Smith scored 16 points each, and Addison Zimpleman added

Addison Zimpleman

13 for the Lady Comets in a 63-32 rout of Peru in a Miami County Invitational first round game at North Miami High School Tuesday.

Caston improved to 9-4 and earned a date in the title game at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Maconaquah. The Lady Braves handled North Miami 72-46 in the other first round game.

Emma Eldridge scored 14 points for Peru, who fell to 4-9. Peru played without Cate Wolfe and Brianna Bennett due to injury.

Caston started the game in a 1-3-1 zone – a defense that they had not shown an opponent in a game prior to Tuesday – and then switched to a fullcourt press after Peru called timeout 1:08 into the game. Caston scored the first nine points of the game and never trailed.

With Wolfe and Bennett, perhaps Peru’s two best ballhandlers out, Caston forced 34 turnovers, including 23 in the first half.

Caston also outscored Peru 11-1 from the foul line.

Caston led by as many as 34 points in the second half, and Scales, Smith and Zimpleman all rested in the fourth quarter.

Smith outscored the entire Peru team 8-7 in the first quarter. She scored the game’s first field goal on a layup off a delayed break, and in the first possession after the timeout, she scored again after a backcourt steal. A Bailey Harness transition layup and a Scales 19-footer made it 9-0.

The lead reached 22-7 after one quarter. Peru committed 12 turnovers.

“They were down their point guard today, so we wanted to come out and press them,” Caston coach Josh Douglass said. “We had success last time playing them (a 63-28 Caston win on Nov. 9) in the press, so we wanted to come out and jump them. Plus, get up and down the court a little bit because it’s been about 14 days since we played last, so try to get our legs back underneath us and get that wind back.”

Zimpleman hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Scales hit from deep twice in the second quarter. Brianna Yarber also nailed a right corner 3 off an Emma Kay assist.

Though Smith isn’t known for her 3-point shooting, she plays a key role in helping out those players that are, especially against a team that plays a 2-3 zone defense like Peru.

“Depending on the offense, we usually have somebody in the middle, like a 41 look,” Smith said. “And it’s really basically to move the ball in and out, so that we can get the ball inside, and then that person can either drive, or we can pass it out to the corner for the inside-out shot, things like that. Or we can run our ‘Xavier’ play, which is where we have two girls at the bottom. And it’s really just to work on ball movement. So when teams go zone, we really work on moving the ball. It makes the zone move, and it makes it easier for us.”

Douglass said they tried renewing Dammermann’s visa but were denied. So she flew back to her native Germany before Christmas but not before giving her an Auf Wiedersehen party. Dammermann was averaging 3 points and 2 rebounds per game in a bench role.

“She was signed up for just a semester,” Douglass said. “We kind of knew that. She wanted to stay. We were trying to work on getting her to stay. She was trying to work on it.”

Smith said that if Caston wins their sectional, they will mail a piece of the championship net to Dammermann.

“I miss her a lot,” Smith said. “She definitely helped us a lot defensively. It’s going to be hard to maybe fill that void because she would come in for people when they needed a break, and she was very good at face-guarding and things like that. So we are going to miss her, but I know we’ll have people who step up.”

Meanwhile, Emma Kay and Kinzie Mollenkopf saw extra playing time off the bench with Dammermann gone. Douglass has emphasized to all the bench players that you don’t know when your number is going to be called.

Mollenkopf had six assists off the bench.

“Kinzie’s the girl that we talk about that does all the little things that we need down here on the court,” Douglass said. “Her name’s not going to show up in the stat book as far as a lot of points. … She got rebounds. She talks on defense. She helps out. … She plays her role really well.”

Caston 63, Peru 32

PERU (32) (4-9)

Cameryn Raber 0 0-0 0, Emma Eldridge 7 0-0 14, Emily Ream 3 0-0 9, Kaylene Kirk 0 0-0 0, Madisyn Nordman 2 0-0 4, Lucy Luke-Sensel 0 0-0 0, Peyton Wideman 0 0-0 0, Sydney Azbell 0 0-0 0, Katlyn Converse 0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Garner 0 1-2 1, Jenna Watkins 2 0-0 4

TEAM: 14 1-2 32

CASTON (63) (9-4)

Isabel Scales 6 2-4 16, Addison Zimpleman 5 1-2 13, Brianna Yarber 1 0-0 3, Bailey Harness 1 0-0 2, Maddi Smith 5 6-10 16, Alexa Finke 1 0-1 2, Macee Hinderlider 0 0-0 0, Abby Williamson 1 0-0 2, Kinzie Mollenkopf 1 0-0 2, Annie Harsh 1 0-0 2, Emma Kay 1 2-2 5

TEAM: 23 11-19 63

Three-point field goals:

Peru 3 (Ream 3),

Caston 6 (Scales 2, Zimpleman 2, Kay, Yarber)

Total fouls: Peru 16, Caston 8

Fouled out: Kirk (PERU), 3:03, third

Turnovers: Peru 34, Caston 14

Score by quarters

Peru 7 10 5 10 – 32

Caston 22 19 15 7 – 63

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